Discovering the Magic of Mandoki Soulmates with Roon

Mandoki Soulmates

Every year, around March, a low buzz builds in the Hi-Fi community and gradually intensifies until it overwhelms all other sounds in early May. That buzz, of course, is the excitement generated by High-End Munich. It’s the undisputed apex of all things audio and an absolute wonderland of gear and music, showcasing more than a thousand unique brands. All the latest sound delights are spread across 30,000 square meters of exhibition space, drawing over 20,000 audio enthusiasts annually.   

High-End Munich is the brightest beacon on the audiophile radar, dominating every conversation as its arrival draws closer. But sadly, for many of us, it remains a distant event, not one marked on our personal calendars. So, instead, we look for ways to experience it vicariously via social media or through friends and counterparts who are fortunate enough to attend. We scour event listings, search for live streams, comb Instagram stories, and raise our antennas for some faint transmission that can give us a taste from afar.  

You never know what form the signal may take. This year, it materialized as an exclusive partnership with Mandoki Soulmates and their concurrent album release. It’s a surprise that seems tailor-made for Roon and one we can all participate in – adding an extra layer of anticipation to the High-End Munich experience.

Soulmate Synergy

Mandoki Soulmates

As music lovers, we know it’s impossible to predict when or how musical inspiration will strike. That’s how we end up with eclectic music collections and part of what makes the hunt for new sounds so exciting. When it does appear, those of us with Roon are exceptionally fortunate. Roon makes discovering new music effortless and delivers it with stunning bit-perfect integrity, making that first listening experience more insightful by delivering every detail just as the artist intended. 

When I read that Munich’s organizers were using the synergy created by the show and the Mandoki Soulmates new album release to express their joint commitment to promoting and celebrating diversity in the audio world and the celestial realm of music, I naturally reached for my iPad to pull them up in Roon.

As I scanned Mandoki Soulmates’ lineup, my hands and jaw suddenly went slack with increasing disbelief and shock. The band was formed 30 years ago by visionary percussionist and producer Leslie Mandoki, Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, Jack Bruce from Cream, and jazz-fusion icon Al Di Meola – legends from some of the most popular bands in Roon! Since then, it’s evolved into a genre-transcending, generation-bridging musical collective featuring some of the most recognized names in prog, rock, and jazz-fusion. How had a band of this caliber slipped through my radar?!

In Roon, I was amazed to discover that Leslie’s musical achievements were surpassed by his remarkable personal story of persecution and resilience. I was captivated as I read how a daring mid-1970s escape to Munich liberated him from Communist Hungary and how, in Leslie’s own words, music truly set him free. They make blockbuster Hollywood biopics that can’t compare to this! 

All the while, my fascination with the Mandoki Soulmates grew as I encountered even more legendary names among its rotating members: Peter Frampton, Eric Burdon, Robin Gibb, Steve Lukather, Chaka Kahn, Randy Brecker, and Greg Lake – as well as members of Supertramp, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Rainbow, Toto, Foreigner, and others. 

From Leslie’s Roon bio, I jumped to the Mandoki Soulmates page, where I explored their previous albums and performer credits, then followed links to the band’s website. I fell down the music rabbit hole there, watching hours of complete concert recordings and live performances, music videos, interviews, and a short film about the new album—all featuring the remarkable musicians I mentioned above. Journeys like this are what Roon does so well, providing inroads to the heart of new discoveries and revealing hidden secrets about long-time favorites. It’s a music adventure every time you open the app. 

A Memory of Our Future

Mandoki Soulmates

After watching a short film on the genesis of the new album, A Memory of Our Future (linked below), Mandoki Soulmates felt like a group of friends whose passion for music and respect for its inherent spiritual and communicative power echoed my own. I felt a pervading and peculiar nostalgia for them. Despite having listened to many of the soulmates who comprised this band for most of my life, they were still a new discovery.

The musicians described how the limitations of recording, mixing, and mastering the album entirely in the analog realm conspired to make each of them more mindful of their playing, elevating each take and overdub with greater presence, sharper focus, and transcendent musicianship. I was deeply impressed. Working entirely in a tape-based medium is especially rare now. It’s not just that the equipment is more scarce—it’s genuinely a lost and endangered art, and studio professionals with experience in the form are few. I was eager to hear what they had created. 

I searched Roon and discovered three high-resolution advance singles, Blood in the Water, The Big Quit, and We Stay Loud, encoded in 24/96 FLAC. I won’t give away too much about what I heard because I want you to have the luxury of experiencing them for the first time with fresh ears and an open mind. I will say, however, as someone who has worked in analog studios, that this album perfectly illustrates why folks glorify recording to tape like it’s mystical audio alchemy.

A Memory of Our Future is one of the most lush and pristinely produced AAA analog projects I’ve ever heard. And Roon delivers every note with spellbinding detail and depth. Each instrument’s warmth, nuance, and tonal character are captured masterfully and conveyed beautifully on tape. The mix provides ample space for each member to shine, illuminating the songs with soulful energy as the individual parts intertwine with inspiring synergy and musicality. It’s the kind of rare intuitive, sympathetic ensemble playing that’s crafted over time. It also helps explain the combined 35 Grammy Awards and 350 million album sales they can count among the group’s members.

But as we all know from following bands’ histories, a successful track record doesn’t necessarily guarantee a star lineup’s success. Some supergroups don’t work, whether it’s a clash of egos, incompatible playing styles or personalities, diverging project goals, or any myriad of imperceptible, innocuous reasons why they may fail – many, many do. The magic is hard to maintain. 

Yet, the Mandoki Soulmates have endured—for over 30 years. The secret to their longevity lies in the passion, purpose, and message at this band’s heart. You can hear it in the video linked below, the songs on A Memory of Our Future, and in the Soulful Synergy playlist graciously curated by Leslie on the Roon home page. Music is a universal language that we all understand. Mandoki Soulmates make music that sees beyond our differences and celebrates our solidarity as souls striving for memories of a better future.

A Memory of Our Future is available worldwide on May 10, 2024. For more Mandoki Soulmates news and music, visit:

The Mandoki Soulmates Website